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PR frustration and question - client's expectations

5:00 pm on May 28, 2010 (gmt 0)

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I've searched around and haven't found the answer my questions. I started working for this client on April 1. They were using a firm that was outsourcing SEO to India. When I started, 67% of the traffic to the site was coming from India and page views were usually 1 and done (per Alexa). The backlinks are a lot of Indian and Middle Eastern directories that just pass links back and forth. The site had a PR4 when I picked it up. I cleaned up their outbound links (should I make these nofollow?) and I've worked to get some backlinks from a handful of PR4,5 and a couple 6.

Now, the Indian traffic is beginning to wane and the US traffic is on the rise. Overall site views are down, but individual page views are up to averaging 3. Time on the site is up 63% over the last month as well. The firm wasn't tracking sales, they were just blinding running PPC. We're tracking now and the only comparison I have to previous numbers are overall internet sales (which are up 61% since April 1). I stopped their Content Network ads this month that were wasting money and reallocated that money to paid search. Paid search revenues are double what they were last month(April) so far this month(May) (didn't have conversion tracking April 1-13).

PR is stuck on 4. I'm meeting with them next week to discuss where things are and where things are going. One of the issues they are concerned about is that the PR hasn't moved. I'm not sure what to tell them. We're targeting more keywords and we're having more success getting ranked and moving up with some of the less targeted keywords. I was telling my wife the other night that the growth over the last 2 months has been pretty solid and I think they should be happy with the results.

Should I track down the links on the worthless directories and have them removed? Should I make the outbound links nofollow? Is there such a thing a too much crap on their main page? There's a lot of info right now and they just added a javascript for a slide out menu on the left. I'm renaming image titles and alt tags on the site as well.
5:28 pm on May 28, 2010 (gmt 0)

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We're tracking now and the only comparison I have to previous numbers are overall internet sales (which are up 61% since April 1)

This is the only really meaningful metric in the campaign. The website is a vessel, not a trophy.

There are plenty of video references as to the limitations of PR as any meaningful type of metric for business _ I would start there by politely explaining this and sending them to a URL from Matt Cutts which explains this, to backup your explanation.

I would leave the links on the directories, but make sure you are very vigilant about anyone you link out to.

I, for one, would only link out to a handful (less than 5) total directories that are worthwhile for consumers, are aged and trusted. Any directory that asks you to link back, if this is the case, is not worth linking with at all.
4:02 am on May 29, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Visable page rank is often months out of date. Any progress you are making now might not be visible until 6 months from now PR wise.

PR is not something worth tracking or worrying about. Just as serp results are no longer worth comparing since everyone sees something different.
5:19 am on May 29, 2010 (gmt 0)


WebmasterWorld Administrator buckworks is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

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up 61% since April 1

I agree with CainIV - that's the primary metric for judging progress. Everything else is supporting details, useful for staying pointed in the right direction.

One suggestion: Be aware if there are seasonal ups and downs that might affect how progress should be evaluated. If seasonal variations are large there might sometimes need to be "expectation corrections" (which can work in either direction) when your work is being judged.
8:54 am on May 29, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Your results sounds prettey solid already. Try make the client acknowledge that and don't promise them to much for the future. Clients are usually impatient when it comes to results and when you are done with the easy wins such as killing the none performing network ads, results may be less visible and take more time.

You are on the right path, and now they have tracking - if they don't look at it themselfes at least it will be very helpful for you or for any other SEO they ask to help them in the future...

Can't advice you much whether you should remove links from worthless directories. Personally I wouldn't want them, but since I don't use that strategy myself I have no experience when it comes to results or risks. I wouldn't add nofollow to outbound links if they are relevant, and in general I wouldn't have outbound links on my site if they where not relevant.

PR is not the right metric for your client, I have a PR3 site that brings in more business than a PR5 site with a similar revenue model.

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